SRINAGAR: The rightwing Hindu Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) might not have opened its account in the Valley but its vote share has drastically increased by 166 percent since the last Parliamentary elections.
While the party swept the Lok Sabha elections that could see Narendra Modi at the Delhi throne, BJP has seen surge in vote percentage in Muslim majority Kashmir Valley.
Not only has its vote share increased but the party fielded its candidates on all the three seats in the Valley.
In 2009, the party gave its mandate for Srinagar parliamentary constituency to Avtar Krishan Pandita who managed just 1994 votes. Similarly M Sidiq Khan was given party ticket who secured 3918 votes in the 2009 elections. BJP didn’t field its candidate from north Kashmir’s Baramulla constituency in 2009; however, the seat provided more than 6,400 votes in the recently concluded 2014 elections.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections BJP fielded Mushtaq Ahmad Malik from Anantnag seat who secured 4720 votes. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat fought the elections for the party from Srinagar parliamentary constituency and got 4467 votes. The highest margin of votes the party secured was from north Kashmir’s Baramullah constituency where it managed to get 6558 votes and the party candidate was Ghulam Mohammad Mir.
Thakur denied that only migrant voters had cast their votes in favour of the party. “I can say with authority that all the votes we got in Kashmir were cast by Kashmiri Muslims,” he said adding “we got 125 votes from Hazratbal segment, 245 from Ganderbal and 449 from Kangan and all of the votes were cast by local Kashmiri Muslims,” he claimed.
The `growth’ of BJP in Kashmir where it is perceived as a anti-Muslim party is strange, believe political quarters. However, the party spokesman is thrilled by the performance. Talking top Kashmir Reader Mohammad Altaf Thakur expressed hope that Modi will take forward Vajpayee’s policy on Kashmir.